glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. militants have attacked iraq's largest oil refinery. security in the capital is worsening as they advance for baghdad. the sunni militants are linked to al qaeda. they're advancing south after taking control of the country's second largest city of mosul. the insurgents are fighting with government forces near baquba, about 50 kilometers north of baghdad. they've also attacked government buildings in two cities west of the capital. on wednesday, they attacked the
country's largest oil refinery with machine gun fire and mor r mortars. gunman forces have been deployed there to counter the insurgents. a car bomb went off in an outdoor market in a shia populated district of baghdad. at least 12 people died. three other terrorist attacks have killed 21 people in the city this week. prime minister nuri al maliki called for national unity in a televised speech. he said iraqis will not be defeated by what he called terrorist and murderers. shia residents are volunteering to fight against insurgents and support maliki's government. u.s. president barack obama is still weighing options. several u.s. media outlets say it's unlikely that the american military will launch air strikes any time soon. >> president obama has decided not to use air strikes for now because there's not enough information on good targets. >> analysts note intervention
could fuel sectarian violence and that the u.s. public is increasingly weary of war. the situation in iraq is going tense by the day. nhk world's takafumi terui spoke with the iraqi ambassador to japan to get an update on conditions in the country. >> reporter: the militant group with links to al qaeda is growing in strength. they engaged private security forces in firefights in the province of kirkuk on thursday. people have been forced out of their homes. more than half a million people so far have fled mosul to campsites in the suburbs of the the iraqi ambassador to japan al hashimi says iraqi soldiers were surprised at how well the
militants were equipped. >> the first few days -- they said later on, it is very new weapons, very modern weapons, which they don't have. so from where it come? it come from supporting this group and what they call the jihadis. so they took one village or one city. quickly they make judgment there. anybody support the old government, they will kill him. >> reporter: al hashimi emphasizes that the iraqi government and the military are capable of bringing the conflict to an end on their own. he even ruled out a possible air attack by u.s. drones. >> and iraq, until now, they don't have for fully 100% support, because they them, have enough soldier. so what america -- what they have done in the last few days,
to send a big military ship to the arab gulf. this is their strategy, i believe not to send soldier, but maybe to send airplanes without pilot to give information, to collect information. >> reporter: the ambassador instead calls for the international community to lend a hand to improve their military capability. >> we are now fighting the terror from different groups, from different nationality, in -- instead of the international community. as the neighboring countries they have done before. we make it very clear that it is no time to hesitate. >> reporter: the ambassador is totally opposed to the option of dividing the country along religious or ethnic lines. on the contrary, he expressed confidence in maintaining the unity of the country.
takafumi terui, nhk world, tokyo. >> and iran's president says the people of his country will do everything to help defend shiite holy sites in iraq. hassan rouhani was speaking before a large crowd in a city near the iraqi border. his address was carried live and on television. the president said many iranians are ready to volunteer to protect iraq's shiite holy sites in karbala, and samara. officials with the iranian government have close ties with the iraqi administration led by prime minister nuri al maliki. rouhani is apparently hoping to stop the extremists in iraq out of concern they may eventually pose a threat to iran. rising tension in iraq is pushing up oil prices here in tokyo. crude oil futures on wednesday
reached their highest level so far this year. crude oil for november delivery drew heavy buying on the tokyo commodity exchange as soon as trading began. the price reached above the 69,000 yen level or about $675 per kiloliter. market players say buying was spurred by speculation that the situation in iraq is worsening. they say the uncertain outlook in the region will likely keep prices high. and the higher cost of crude oil is causing gasoline prices to rise. they've gone up for the eighth consecutive week. officials at the oil information center say that as of monday the average retail price of gasoline was 167 yen, about $1.63 a liter. that's up 0.4 yen from the previous week. officials say prices may keep going up. they say confusion in ukraine could disrupt russian supplies of oil to europe. an expert warns that crude oil
prices may rise further if the islamist militants advance to oil-rich southern iraq. >> translator: crude oil from iraq accounts for over 10% of opec's total output. if that oil source gets disrupted global supplies could tighten. >> okoshi also says a jump in oil prices will lead to higher gasoline prices, undermining economic recovery in the u.s. he says that would be a blow to japan's exporters posing downside risks to the nation's economy. the ukrainian president says government forces will stop fighting in the eastern part of the country to bring an end to the violence. president petro poroshenko says the unilateral cease fire will prompt pro-russian militants to
lay down their arms. the plan also offers more power to local authorities by means of a constitutional amendment. poroshenko says militants that surrender the weapons and who have not committed serious crimes will receive amnesty and he also says what he calls mercenaries will be allowed to leave ukraine. but analysts say it's unclear if and when the cease fire plan will be implemented. government forces continue the offensive in donetsk and luhansk regions. a bomb has torn through a venue in northeastern nigeria, where fans had gathered to watch a world cup soccer match. at least 21 people, including young children, have been killed. the explosion happened in the town of damaturu. the associated press quoted witnesses as saying a taxi was driven into the outdoor area on tuesday night and it exploded. no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion. damaturu and the surrounding
areas are at the heart of an insurgency by extremist group boko haram. reporting the news has just gotten more difficult in china. government officials have announced they're clamping down on news-gathering activities. it's part of a campaign to maintain greater control over the dissemination of information. the ban forbids journalists from making critical reports without the consent of their news organizations. it also prohibits reporters from opening websites on their own. the chinese government has routinely issued a range of similar bans for various segments of the domestic media. it's also managed to control critical reporting through post-publication censorship. local media reports say researchers at the chinese academy of social sciences came under criticism last week after they were accused of being influenced by foreign ideas. they were ordered by a disciplinary panel to conform
their political views to the party's platform. concern is growing among the country's leaders that the ideas of freedom and democracy have spread among intellectuals in the country and threaten china's single party rule. chinese and vietnamese officials have held their highest level of dialogue since china set up a large-scale oil rig in the south china sea. a top diplomat from beijing met vietnam's prime minister in hanoi. patchari raksawong at our bureau in bangkok has the details. the chinese state counselor is in charge of beijing's foreign policy, met with the foreign minister. neither of them have spoken to the media since their meeting ended. the talks were held in hanoi amid heightened tension between the two countries. >> translator: relations between china and vietnam are going through a difficult period.
i will discuss our relations and current issues in the south china sea. >> translator: we wish to discuss and resolve the complicated situation and to help develop healthy and stable relations for the benefit of both sides in the region. >> bilateral relations have worsened since china installed an oil rig off the paracel islands in the south china sea. china and vietnam both claim sovereignty over the oil-rich area. a standoff of ships from both countries is continuing in the area. china's foreign ministry spokesperson said that it was reiterated that the paracel islands are china's inherent territories. >> translator: the state counselor pointed out that the two countries must seek an appropriate solution to political and diplomatic efforts and calm the situation before the issue further escalates in terms of scale or complexity or
takes on a global dimension. >> china would like to see the dispute resolved on a bilateral basis. vietnam prefers that the matter be handled with regional or international involvement. vietnam is poised to stand firm with its territorial claim while seeking a way of finding a solution. china overwhelms vietnam in terms of military strength, especially naval power. its economy is also many times larger than vietnam's. hanoi faces a difficult task in trying to maneuver through the situation. the global market for halal products has grown over the years and is now worth $3 trillion. halal is a designation indicating that food and other products are made according to islamic law. malaysia is aiming to take the lead in this growing market by promoting its own certification system as a global standard. nhk world's tuan earn yee reports.
>> reporter: muslims account for 68% of malaysia's population. an international halal trade show held in april featured products from all over the world. this is halal cheese from italy. this is kimchi, spicy vegetables all certified as halal. halal certification standards vary from country to country. decisions are made by muslim organizations in each country. but in malaysia, the government plays the leading role. the country is trying to make its certification system an international standard. the idea is to boost the reputation of its products and increase exports. >> they will study the products to make sure everything in the products is halal.
directly, i go to malaysia, because it's a good way to get the halal logo to promote our product. >> reporter: the certification's program covers all the items people use in daily life. this plant produces toothpaste. inspectors carefully check the calcium derived from pig bones is not used in the ingredients, because pigs are considered unclean by muslims. the government has also set up 20 halal industry complexes. these facilities serve as bases for exporting products to other muslim countries. malaysia is aiming to become a hub for halal. a former malaysian prime minister has established public corporations for certifying halal products. he's visited japan and other countries to persuade companies to open shop in malaysia in return for tax incentives and other benefits.
>> translator: we believe it will be a great business opportunity. >> if the japanese want to have some help, any company, we will -- we should be saying yes, we should be able to help. >> reporter: the halal business is expected to continue to grow, becoming a $10 trillion market by 2015. as populations increase and economics expand in the muslim world, already market players are part of a highly competitive industry. tuan earn yee, nhk world, kuala lumpur. >> that wraps up our bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. people in indonesia will cast ballots next month to choose their next president.
the new leader will face many challenges. he'll have to manage southeast asia's biggest economy which has seen strong growth, but is now expected to slow down. hr i -- hiromi hirose reports. >> reporter: this man is a former businessman and current governor of jakarta.iromi hiros. >> reporter: this man is a former businessman and current governor of jakarta. he served in the armed forces. he was married to a daughter of the late president. who ruled for more than 30 years. the winner will inherit the country that has enjoyed economic growth during the ten-year period. during that time, the country saw an average growth rate of
around 6%. gdb is slowing down. the central bank this year expects a growth rate of 5.15%. so, what's needed to sustain further growth? the minister of finance cites two factors, opening of the domestic market, and expanding trade with china. >> there is no way that indonesia could achieve the 7% economic growth without being open. part of being friendly to the investors. it is very important, in which a large country like china should be included. >> reporter: china is now indonesia's number two trading
partner, following japan. he says it's imperative for china to be part of free trade agreements, such as the transpacific partnership. the minister of trade, muhammad lufti, says the priority is on tackling domestic challenges, such as narrowing the income gap. he believes it's too early for indonesia to participate in tpp negotiations. >> indonesia is not part of tpp right now, but we're watching it very closely. indonesia right now is still having its homework on how to strengthen the structure inside the country. we are very busy in development. >> reporter: a new way to balance the high economic growth with finding ways to raise up the country's millions, improve education and health care, and rebuild infrastructure. the president's reaction is scheduled for july 9th.
hiromi hirose, nhk world. japan's top government spokesman says officials will soon meet with north korea. they'll discuss setting up a special committee to investigate the fate of abducted japanese. yoshihide suga says they're looking into how effective the committee will be. >> translator: we've asked the north to explain to us how the special committee will be formed. and who will be in charge. japan will scrutinize the information very carefully. >> officials from both countries held talks in may in stockholm. suga said a specific date and location for this round are not yet decided. he also spoke about lifting sanctions on pyongyang.
he said the government cannot decide on any steps before hearing the north's explanation. at the previous talks, north korean authorities promised a full investigation into the fate of missing japanese. they include those abducted by north korean asians in the 1970s and '80s. in return, japan agreed to lift some sanctions. japanese prime minister shinzo abe wants to lower the corporate tax rate, starting next year. that's a key part of the growth strategy he's scheduled to release later this month. economic revitalization minister amari says the government should lower the rate to about 29%, the same level as germany's, over the next few years. amari met the chairman of the nation's largest business lobby on wednesday. the extra tax revenue from the country's economic recovery would be enough to offset the lower corporate tax rate. amari agreed. he said the government is pushing for structural reforms to overcome deflation and
increase tax revenue. japan's effective corporate tax rate is currently about 35%. that's the second-highest among developed countries following the u.s. the corporate tax rate is 33% in france, 17% in singapore. 23% in britain. government officials plan to hold talks with the ruling liberal democratic party later this year. amari says he wants to persuade members to accept the plan. some south korean business owners are breathing new life into old products. they're helping to fuel global demand for secondhand goods. and this new line of exports is turning out to be profitable. nhk world's anna jung explains. >> reporter: this is a rental
shop for wedding gowns in seoul, boasting over 200 dresses. but it's a fickle market. wedding fashions change so often that the dresses have a rental life of only two years. cheaper dresses from china are also hitting the shop's product life cycle. that means a growing stockpile of used dresses that can't be rented. so the shop owners came up with a solution, export. they posted pictures of dresses on the shop's website, triggering a surge of orders from overseas. the owners now export 500 old dresses a year. most are shipped to vietnam and other southeast asian countries. demand has been boosted by korean tv dramas, which are popular across asia. >> translator: we can clear out
old stock and make profit at the same time, killing two birds with one stone. >> reporter: korea's farm machinery industry is working from the same playbook. this fire -- buyer has come to south korea to buy local machines. they are high quality and 70% cheaper than new models. demand is high in thailand, and rice farming is growing. >> it is good quality and good buys. >> reporter: competition to sell used farm equipment is growing. so this company has added small parts to its offer of complete products. >> translator: we sell more than 200 containers of exports a year, making about $10 million.
>> reporter: this may look like a pile of garbage, but don't be fooled. these are all used household goods left behind when people moved. and they are now destined for export. even the smallest things, like this spoon and plate, can be exported to other countries. usable items are sorted and stored in a tent for export. among the most popular are electric products and kitchenware, the korean cultural boom means many people like products, so anything stamped with these characters is valuable. >> translator: we export to cambodia and countries in africa. we sell two containers of goods a month, worth about $150,000.
>> reporter: secondhand goods are a growing export earner in south korea. the business recycles unwanted items in the country's backyard. and popular culture is korea's shop window. anna junk, nhk world, seoul. a people tested by politics and history. innovators whose technologies spread around the world. artists who capture the imaginations of audiences everywhere. these are the places of south korea. nhk world updates you on what's happening across the peninsula. wednesday and thursday, here on "newsline." next, here's the three-day outlook on the world's weather.
and here's one more story to share with you before we go. some office workers in western japan are trying ethnic costumes as a way to cope with the summer heat. employees at the japan international cooperation agency dressed in traditional clothing from asia, africa, and latin america. the agency is supporting economic and social growth in developing countries. a woman wearing a vietnamese silk said she's able to work more efficiently because the dress is so airy. and another woman said the colorful clothing from west africa was very comfortable. >> translator: everyone here is enjoying the different atmosphere. >> she says she hopes wearing the costumes will encourage workers to think more about developing countries. and that wraps up this edition of "newsline."